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Doubling down on drug-resistant infections
DAVOS, Switzerland—More than 80 organizations—from international pharmaceutical, generics, diagnostics and biotechnology companies to key industry players—gathered this week to call on both the industry as a whole and on governments worldwide to work together comprehensively against drug-resistant infections. The group made a joint declaration at the World Economic Forum, the Declaration on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance, which was drafted and signed by 85 companies and nine industry associations across 18 countries. This call for action encourages investment in the development of antibiotics, but also, in particular, the conservation of antibiotics and the uptake of point-of-care diagnostics to improve how antibiotics are prescribed.
“This Declaration from industry is a major step forward in establishing a properly global response to the challenges of drug resistance. I’m really impressed that such a wide range of companies have been able to agree on a common set of principles and commitments across these important issues: this is a level of consensus that we have not previously seen from the industry on this topic,” Lord Jim O’Neill, chairman of the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, said in a press release on the initiative.
“With discussions at this year’s UN General Assembly and as part of China’s G20 presidency looking likely, 2016 is set to be a pivotal year in the global fightback against AMR,” he continued. “This Declaration provides a strong basis for my Review, for governments and for NGOs to progress conversations with industry in the coming months about how we can turn these ideas and principles into concrete action. The pharmaceutical industry, as well as society at large, cannot afford to ignore the threat of antibiotic resistance, so I commend those companies who have signed the Declaration for recognizing the long-term importance of revitalizing R&D in antibiotics, and for their leadership in overcoming the difficult issues of collective action at play here.”
“Antimicrobial resistance is beyond the capacity of any organisation or country to manage or mitigate alone. WHO and its Member States have called for the development of new antimicrobial medicines and affordable access to them, in line with the global action plan on antimicrobial resistance. This Declaration affirms that the challenges of AMR can be addressed only through collaboration and global collective action,” added Dr. Margaret Chan, director general of WHO.
Other key points of the Declaration include a call for governments to work with the signatories to develop new market structures with more sustainable models for antibiotics, as well as the funds to implement them, a move that will incentivize companies to invest in R&D to tackle the challenges of antibiotic discovery and development. Improving access to high-quality antibiotics for all is another key point, as is reducing the development of drug resistance through antibiotic stewardship principles established by the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Action Plan on antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
The plan is for the Declaration to be updated every two years to keep abreast of the global landscape of antimicrobial resistance, and is open to new signatories at any time. (A complete list of participating organizations can be found on the Review on AMR's website at www.amr-review.org/industry-declaration.)
Richard Bergström, director general of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, said: “With this statement, my member companies confirm their commitment to new business and valuation models for antibiotics, including those where you at least partially de-link revenues from sales. This will support the dual goal of incentivizing research, while limiting consumption to when it is really needed.”
“When David Cameron announced the AMR Review work in July 2014, he called for ‘a stronger, more coherent global response, with nations, business and the world of science working together to up our game in the field of antibiotics’. With this global Declaration of Support for Combating AMR, industry has given that response. It is up to us all to make sure that delivers new solutions to address AMR for patients everywhere,” commented Dr. Virginia Acha, executive director for Research and Medical Innovation for the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.
SOURCE: AMR press release